Despite a poor fourth quarter, the year as a whole was positive for most annuity providers. According to LIMRA's fourth quarter 2011 U.S. Individual Annuities Sales survey, which represents data from 94 percent of the market, total annuity sales reached $240.3 billion in 2011.

Seeing increases for the year were variable annuities (up 13 percent to $159.3 billion) and fixed immediate annuity sales (up seven percent to $8.1 billion). Fixed annuity sales dropped one percent to $81 billion and market-value adjusted sales plunged 15 percent to $5.2 billion. Book-value sales were level with 2010 at $30.4 billion. Also flat were indexed annuities sales totaling $32.2 billion. However, in the fourth quarter—for the second consecutive quarter—indexed annuity sales outperformed sales of traditional fixed annuities (book-value and market-value adjusted), capturing 44 percent of the fixed annuity market.

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